Lawyer Gets Top Science Post

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Science  28 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5675, pp. 1227
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5675.1227b

NEW DELHI—A prominent lawyer has been appointed India's new science minister. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week appointed Congress Party spokesperson Kapil Sibal to oversee the new government's science, technology, and oceans portfolio.

Sibal, 56, holds a law degree from Harvard University and is well known in India for his work on AIDS policy. He also sits on the board of the New York-based International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. Sibal told Science that he hopes to revamp India's system for assessing genetically modified products and would seek new rules to foster greater use of animal trials. “It is absurd to [use] humans [as] guinea pigs,” he said.

Although Sibal has little technical training, researchers are happy with the appointment. Sibal is “a breath of fresh air,” says polymer engineer Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, director-general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in New Delhi.

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